CS 2300: Human-Computer Interaction Seminar

Spring 2020

This seminar covers methods for conducting research in human-computer interaction (HCI). These topics will be pursued through independent reading, assignments, and class discussion. The seminar comprises four assignments that not just apply HCI research methods but push the envelope of what has been done before. The assignments are designed to be meaningful and have the potential to be widely visible or to be published, and each student will participate in writing a group paper for one of the assignments. We will have readings that teach HCI research methods and provide examples of valuable contributions, sometimes reading reviews of those papers as they were evaluated for publication.

The goal of this course is to provide students with the background necessary to perform research in HCI and the skills required to conduct human-centric research. Students who take this course should have a particular interest in HCI research, or wish to learn fundamental skills that will help them with a user interface design or usability evaluation career. There will be little or no content in this course about interface design, but students will find other topics in CSCI 1300 (User Interfaces) relevant. Enthusiastic students who have not taken CSCI 1300 should have independently gained HCI experience or be a graduate student studying a related topic.

The prerequisite for this course is CSCI 1300: User Interfaces and User Experience. The course will be capped at about 20 students. The Collaboration Policy should be read and signed in class on January 29.

Course Staff

Instructor: Jeff Huang, 245 CIT, jeff at cs dot brown dot edu

Meeting Times

4:30pm-7pm Wednesday at 241 CIT. Office hours by appointment with the instructor.

Time Allocation

Total time spent in and out of class for this course is estimated at 180 hours. Over the 15 weeks of this course, students will spend 2 and a half hours in class each week (or 37.5 hours total). Although specific out-of-class time investments may vary for individual students, a reasonable estimate to support this course's learning outcomes is 145 total out-of class hours, or on average, about 10 hours weekly over a 15-week term. Out-of-class preparation will regularly include about 1-2 hours per class of reading and writing the comments addressing the reading (about 70 hours total). In addition to this ongoing preparation time, students are expected to allocate about 70 hours over the course of the term to writing the three assignments and final group paper.

Academic Support

Brown University is committed to full inclusion of all students. Please inform me early in the term if you have a disability or other conditions that might require accommodations or modification of any of these course procedures. You may speak with me after class or during office hours. For more information, please contact Student and Employee Accessibility Services at 401-863-9588 or SEAS@brown.edu. Students in need of short-term academic advice or support can contact the Dean of the College office.


(S)ocial Analysis Analyze how social relationships affect the messages sent and received.

(A)ugmented Reality Interaction Study through participatory design how users can comfortably interact in augmented reality.

Self-e(X)periment Design and perform a A/B-style experiment on yourself to see what affects your mood.

(C)rowdsourcing Try different crowdsourcing models for collecting data and validating a university faculty dataset.

Group (P)aper Work in a small group to extend one of the assignments into a research paper draft.


Readings should be done before class on the date a reading is due. For each reading, please write to the Slack channel a short novel comment (not a rephrase of what someone said earlier) about the research contribution/findings from the work, and a short novel comment about your assessment of the work/paper. Comments are encouraged to be in response to existing comments in the channel.

Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date it is marked "in" in the schedule below, with a midpoint check-in on the dates marked "mid" where we'll discuss progress so far.

Grading is done solely by the instructor.

Classwork Schedule

Day Topics / Reading Due Assignment
Jan 22 Topic: What is HCI Research?
Keshav - How to Read a Paper
Brown - Five Provocations for Ethical HCI Research
(S) out
Jan 29 Topic: intent, normalization, regression, collinearity
Gilbert - Predicting Tie Strength With Social Media
Feb 5 Topic: Single-case time/sequence-based behavior data
Ernala - Methodological Gaps in Predicting Mental Health States from Social Media: Triangulating Diagnostic Signals
(S) mid
Feb 12 Topic: Aiming, endpoint prediction, experience prototyping
Rosenbaum - Human Motor Control Excerpt
Buchenau - Experience Prototyping
Feb 19 Topic: experiment design (between- and within- subjects)
Lee - AutoGain: Gain Function Adaptation with Submovement Efficiency Optimization
(S) in, (A) out
Feb 26 Topic: validity, intervention, causality
Losh - Reliability, Validity, Causality, And Experiments
Norvig - Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation
(A) mid
Mar 4 Topic: analysis and comparisons
Dell - "Yours is Better!" Participant Response Bias in HCI
"Old reviewer guidelines"
(A) in, (X) out
Mar 11 Gergle - Experimental Research in HCI (WOK)
Discussions from online (read in order) [1] [2] [3] [4]
(X) mid
Mar 18 Class cancelled
Mar 25 Spring Break
Apr 1 Topic: crowdsourcing
Bernstein - Soylent: a word processor with a crowd inside
Marcus - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Crowd
(X) in, (C) out
Apr 8 Topic: design research
Zimmerman - Research Through Design as a Method for Interaction Design Research in HCI
Tohidi - Getting the Right Design and the Design Right: Testing Many Is Better Than One
Apr 15 Topic: systems research, evaluation
Dixon - Prefab
Landay - I give up on CHI/UIST
(C) mid
Apr 22 Odom - Slow Interaction Design
Apr 29 Topic: writing
Kostakos - The Big Hole in HCI Research
(C) in, (P) out